MDAH celebrates the life and legacy of William and Elise Winter

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The Honorable Reuben V. Anderson, the first Black Mississippi Supreme Court Justice and the former president of MDAH’s Board of Trustees, speaks before former U.S. president Bill Clinton and former MS governor Haley Barbour during MDAH’s celebration of the lives of former MS governor William Winter and his wife Elise. (Advocate photo by Joshua Martin)

$5 million museum endowment announced in their honor

On May 3, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) celebrated the lives of Governor William Winter and First Lady Elise Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums. During the ceremony, Spence Flatgard, MDAH board president, announced the completion of the initial funding goal of the William and Elise Winter Education Endowment, a $5 million fund created to underwrite field trips for Mississippi’s school children.

“The purpose of this endowment is to ensure that all Mississippi students have the opportunity to experience the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “We are grateful to the many supporters who gave to this effort, which was spearheaded by Governor and Mrs. Winter. We are especially grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which stepped up first with a generous gift. We are committed to continuing to build the William and Elise Winter Education Endowment, which will make a tremendous impact on future generations to come.”

The William and Elise Winter Education Endowment was created through the Foundation for Mississippi History to memorialize Mississippi’s former governor and first lady and their commitment to education and preservation. 

Former President Bill Clinton, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson celebrated the lives of William and Elise Winter at the Two Mississippi Museums. “The minute I met Bill Winter,” said Clinton, “I never had a scintilla of doubt that whatever happened in our friendship, whatever happened in his life, I was with one of the most authentic people I would ever know.” 

Before the ceremony, museums director Pamela D.C. Junior led President Clinton on a tour through the Civil Rights Museum.

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra provided music and the Clinton High School Arrow Singers, Pearl High School Pearl Singers, and Warren Central High School Viking Singers performed together during the ceremony. 

To view the video of the ceremony:

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MDAH celebrates the life and legacy of William and Elise Winter

By Jackson Advocate News Service
May 10, 2022